"Mr. Yeats and the Beastly Coins" is now available to stream for free via the Irish Film Institute's IFI Archive Player.

In the wake of the Irish Civil War and the establishment of the new Irish Free State, this film documents the creation of a new coinage for Ireland in 1926.

Poet William Butler Yeats was already an internationally renowned figure when invited to chair the design committee for a set of coins which would proudly befit the new state.

However, not everyone was impressed with the designs which featured a selection of Irish livestock, and much controversy was caused at home and abroad.

Adding to this controversy, the coins, intended to distinguish Ireland as a sovereign nation independent from Britain, were created by an Englishman and produced in London.

The film "Mr. Yeats and the Beastly Coins" utilises animation, a mix of archival and modern footage, and photographs to tell this remarkable story. The inflammatory nature of the tale is animated by a wryly entertaining voiceover and by spirited music by the composer Hugh Rodgers. The ‘beastly’ coins were eventually held with great affection by Irish people and became a distinctive symbol of a newly independent Ireland.

"Mr. Yeats and the Beastly Coins" is a part of the Irish Film Institute's F-Rated: Short Films by Irish Women and After ’16 collections.

The Irish Film Institute's F-Rated: Short Films by Irish Women collection

F-Rated: Short Films by Irish Women presents a varied series of stories told through the prism of the female gaze. The films are drawn from collections preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive. The F-rating, which tags films written or directed by women, is used by exhibitors such as the IFI to promote films that fairly represent women on screen and behind the camera. This collection brings together 36 films made by Irish women over four decades. Many of the films are written by women; all are directed by women. It includes drama and documentary; live action and animation; films made with generous support and films made on a shoestring; films in Irish and films in English (one in Polish, one in Ukranian); independent films that were seen by few, and films that garnered global attention, Academy Awards and BAFTAs. 

The short form has traditionally proved more accessible for women filmmakers, and so, despite their underrepresentation in the catalogue of mainstream feature film, women’s stories have been told over the past 40 years. Many of the stories presented here subvert mainstream male-dominated narratives and present alternative perspectives that are fresh and reflective of the lived experience of women in Irish society. 

The Irish Film Institute invites you to explore this powerful collection, which shows the evolution of Irish filmmaking and indeed of Irish society itself, as interpreted by Irish women filmmakers over the past four decades. 

Programme notes for F-Rated: Short Films by Irish Women have been prepared with the assistance of UCD interns Rachel Cahill and Rebekah Ryan.

The Irish Film Institute's After '16 collection

Funded by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, After ’16 is a creative response by Irish filmmakers to the events of Easter 1916. This collection of nine short films is a mixture of live-action, animation and documentary, and tells stories from the eve of the Easter Rising, all the way to the Troubles in 1970s Northern Ireland and beyond.

Following a premiere at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival in 2016, the films went on to screen as a collection at Galway and Cork Film Festivals, as well as at Irish film festivals around the world, including Boston and Toronto. The films also found audiences outside the cinema, with screenings at the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks, and in Dublin City Libraries. The Party and A Terrible Hullabaloo were included in the official selection for Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival, Bristol. In 2017, The Party had the distinction of being nominated for a BAFTA in the Short Film category.

It is anticipated that the unique addition of downloadable notes for schools will expand the potential for greater appreciation by young people of our history and storytelling heritage.

"Mr. Yeats and the Beastly Coins" is published here thanks to the Irish Film Institute (IFI), who IrishCentral has partnered up with to bring you a taste of what their remarkable collection entails. You can find all IrishCentral articles and videos from the IFI here.

To watch more historic Irish footage, visit the IFI Archive Player, the Irish Film Institute’s virtual viewing room that provides audiences around the globe free, instant access to Irish heritage preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive. Irish Culture from the last century is reflected through documentaries, animation, adverts, amateur footage, feature films, and much more. You can also download the IFI Archive Player App for free on iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.

IrishCentral has partnered up with the IFI to bring you a taste of what their remarkable collections entail. You can find all IrishCentral articles and videos from the IFI here.